I coslept with my son. By this I mean he slept in the bed with me, next to me, every night for four months and he napped on me for the first year.
I both loved it and hated it.
What I loved about cosleeping:
- Breastfeeding at night was a cinch. My son would often just latch before I even woke and he never cried for hunger.
- I knew it was good for him. For newborns, being close to mom can help regulate their systems, which is really cool.
- It eased my anxiety in those first shaky weeks to have him near me.
- He slept longer next to me.
- I was able to nap when he napped.
- It made travelling with him really easy. I never worried about where he was going to sleep.
What I hated about cosleeping:
- He would only nap on me. This was hard for me. I felt very trapped and tethered after a while and it was really hard to transition him away from this.
- My body was very tense all the time. I found I was unable to completely relax when he was in bed with me and I would often wake with an achy pelvis and just sore muscles. Weird, I know.
- If I slept in the bed without him I would wake in a panic that he was lost in the bed. This happened for a long while after we transitioned him to the crib.
- My husband and I stopped sleeping in the same bed and I missed him.
- I often had to go to bed at the same time as my son.
To Cosleep or Not?
So based on my past experience I decided I wanted to try to get my baby girl sleeping on her own.
And then she was born and I just naturally wanted her sleeping next to me. And so she did for the first four days. She is a super nurser (thank god!) and she took to side nursing right away, so this has made cosleeping a breeze and I figured, I’ll just do it again.
But then on day five I took a nap without her and I woke up in a panic thinking she was in bed with me. Not good. And then I also noticed that familiar tension in my body.
So that night I gave the crib a try – which, by the way is in our bedroom – and she slept pretty well. She did an hour, then two hours, then three hours. I thought – this is amazing! It felt so good to have the bed to myself and it was actually really nice to get up with her and nurse her in the rocking chair. It was a different kind of experience, and one that I was really feeling.
Last night was the second night of attempting to get her in the crib and it didn’t go quite so well. She did a 2.5 hour stretch and then she wouldn’t settle back down in the crib so I brought her into bed with me, and we both got another two hour stretch.
I’ll keep trying the crib, but I’m also going to do whatever works best for both of us.
Naps on the other hand – no way is she sleeping on me! I really just can’t have her sleep on me while I have my toddler to take care of. And so far she is sleeping beautifully on her own during the day – good three hour stretches. Can’t wait for her to start doing those at night!!